1. Thou seest many stars at night in the sky, but findest them not when the sun rises. Canst thou say that there are no stars, then, in the heaven of day? So, O man, because thou beholdest not the Almighty in the days of thy ignorance, say not that there is no God.
2. As one and the same material, viz. water, is called by different names by different people--one calling it 'water,' another 'vâri,' a third 'aqua,' and another 'pani'--so the one Sat-kit-ânanda, the Everlasting-Intelligent-Bliss, is invoked by some as God, by some as Allah, by some as Hari, and by others as Brahman.
3. Two persons were hotly disputing as to the colour of a chameleon. One said, 'The chameleon on that palm-tree is of a beautiful red colour.' The other, contradicting him, said, 'You are mistaken, the chameleon is not red, but blue.' Not being able to settle the matter by arguments, both went to the person who always lived under that tree and had watched the chameleon in all its phases of colour.
[paragraph continues] One of them said, 'Sir, is not the chameleon on that tree of a red colour?' The person replied, 'Yes, sir.' The other disputant said, 'What do you say? How is it? It is not red, it is blue.' That person again humbly replied, 'Yes, sir.' The person knew that the chameleon is an animal that constantly changes its colour; thus it was that he said 'yes' to both these conflicting statements. The Sat-kit-ânanda likewise has various forms. The devotee who has seen God in one aspect only, knows Him in that aspect alone. But he who has seen Him in His manifold aspects, is alone in a position to say, 'All these forms are of one God, for God is multiform.' He has forms and has no forms, and many are His forms which no one knows.
4. Many are the names of God, and infinite the forms that lead us to know Him. In whatsoever name or form you desire to call Him, in that very form and name you will see Him.
5. Four blind men went to see an elephant. One touched the leg of the elephant, and said, 'The elephant is like a pillar.' The second touched the trunk, and said, The elephant is like a thick stick or club.' The third touched the belly, and said, 'The elephant is like a big jar.' The fourth touched the ears, and said, 'The elephant is like a winnowing basket.' Thus they began to dispute amongst themselves as to the figure of the elephant. A passer-by seeing them thus quarrelling, said, 'What is it that you are disputing about?' They told him everything, and asked him to arbitrate. That man said, 'None of you
has seen the elephant. The elephant is not like a pillar, its legs are like pillars. It is not like a big water-vessel, its belly is like a water-vessel. It is not like a winnowing basket, its ears are like winnowing baskets. It is not like a thick stick or club, but its proboscis is like that. The elephant is the combination of all these.' In the same manner those quarrel who have seen one aspect only of the Deity.
6. As the same sugar is made into various figures of birds and beasts, so one sweet Mother Divine is worshipped in various climes and ages under various names and forms. Different creeds are but different paths to reach the Almighty.
7. As with one gold various ornaments are made, having different forms and names, so one God is worshipped in different countries and ages, and has different forms and names. Though He may be worshipped variously, some loving to call him Father, others Mother, &c., yet it is one God that is being worshipped in all these various relations and modes.
8. Q. If the God of every religion is the same, why is it then that the God is painted differently by different religionists? A. God is one, but His aspects are different: as one master of the house is father to one, brother to another, and husband to a third, and is called by these different names by those different persons, so one God is described and called in various ways according to the
particular aspect in which He appears to His particular worshipper.
9. In a potter's shop there are vessels of different shapes and forms--pots, jars, dishes, plates, &c.--but all are made of one clay. So God is one, but is worshipped in different ages and climes under different names and aspects.
10. God is one, but his aspects are many. One and the same fish may be made to taste differently, according to the different modes of preparing it, so one God is enjoyed variously (i.e. in His various aspects) by His devotees.
11. Man is like a pillow-case. The colour of one may be red, another blue, another black, but all contain the same cotton So it is with man--one is beautiful, one is black, another is holy, a fourth wicked; but the Divine dwells in them all.
12. All waters are brooded over by Nârâyana, but every kind of water is not fit for drink. Similarly, though it is true that the Almighty dwells in every place, yet every place is not fit to be visited by man. As one kind of water may be used for washing our feet, another may serve the purpose of ablution, and others may be drunk, and others again may not be touched at all; so there are different kinds of places. We may approach some, we can enter into the inside of others, others we must avoid, even at a distance.
13. It is true that God is even in the tiger, but we must not go and face the animal. So it is true that God dwells
even in the most wicked, but it is not meet that we should associate with the wicked.
14. The manifestation of the Divinity must be under-stood to be in greater degree in those who are honoured, respected, and obeyed by a large following, than in those who have gained no such influence.
15. The Master said: 'Everything that exists is God.' The pupil understood it literally, but not in the true spirit. While he was passing through a street, he met with an elephant. The driver (mâhut) shouted aloud from his high place, 'Move away, move away!' The pupil argued in his mind, 'Why should I move away? I am God, so is the elephant also God. What fear has God of Himself?' Thinking thus he did not move. At last the elephant took him up by his trunk, and dashed him aside. He was severely hurt, and going back to his Master, he related the whole adventure. The Master said, 'All right, you are God. The elephant is God also, but God in the shape of the elephant-driver was warning you also from above. Why did you not pay heed to his warnings?'
18. God, His scripture (the Bhâgavata), and His devotee are all to be regarded as one, i.e. in one and the same light.
17. Every being is Nârâyana. Man or animal, sage or knave, nay, the whole universe, is Nârâyana, the Supreme Spirit.
18. As many have merely heard of snow but not seen it, so many are the religious preachers who have read only in books about the attributes of God, but have not realised
them in their lives. And as many may have seen but not tasted it, so many are the religious teachers who have got only a glimpse of Divine Glory, but have not understood its real essence. He who has tasted the snow can say what it is like. He who has enjoyed the society of God in different aspects, now as a servant, now as a friend, now as a lover, or as being absorbed in Him, &c., he alone can tell what are the attributes of God.
19. As the lamp does not burn without oil, so man cannot live without God.
20. The human body is like a boiling pot, and the mind and the senses are like water, rice or potato, &c. in it. Put the pot with its ingredients on the fire; it will be so hot as to burn your finger when you touch it. But the heat does not belong to the pot, nor anything contained in it, but is in the fire. So it is the fire of Brahman in man that causes the mind and the senses to perform their functions, and when that fire ceases to act, the senses also, or the organs, stop.
21. Says God, 'I am the snake that biteth and the charmer that healeth; I am the judge that condemneth and the executioner that whippeth.'
22. God tells the thief to go and steal, and at the same time warns the householder against the thief.
23. How doth the Lord dwell in the body? He dwells in the body like the plug of a syringe, i.e. in the body, and yet apart from it.
24. The Lord can pass an elephant through the eye of a needle. He can do whatever He likes.
25. As fishes playing in a pond covered over with reeds and scum cannot be seen from outside, so God plays in the heart of a man invisibly, being screened by Mâyâ. from human view.
26. A man sitting under the shade of the Kalpa-vriksha (wishing-tree) wished to be a king, and in an instant he was a king. The next moment he wished to have a charming damsel, and the damsel was instantly by his side. The man then thought within himself, if a tiger came and devoured him, and alas! in an instant he was in the jaws of a tiger! God is like that wishing-tree: whosoever in His presence thinks that he is destitute and poor, remains as such, but he who thinks and believes that the Lord fulfils all his wants, receives everything from Him.
27. The landlord may be very rich, but when a poor cultivator brings a humble present to him with a loving heart, he accepts it with the greatest pleasure and satisfaction.
28. While a bell is being rung, the repeated ding-dongs can be distinguished one from the other, but when we stop ringing, then an undistinguishable sound only remains audible. We can easily distinguish one note from the other, as if each distinct note had a certain shape; but the continued and unbroken sound when the ding-dongs have ceased is undistinguishable, as if formless. Like the sound of the bell, God is both with and without form.
29. As a boy begins to learn writing by drawing big scrawls, before he can master the small-hand, so we must learn concentration of the mind by fixing it first on forms; and when we have attained success therein, we can easily fix it upon the formless.
30. As a marksman learns to shoot by first taking aim at large and big objects, and the more he acquires the facility, the greater becomes the ease with which he can shoot at the smaller marks on the target, so when the mind has been trained to be fixed on images having form, it becomes easy for it to be fixed upon images having no form.
31. God is the Absolute and Eternal Brahman, as well as the Father of the Universe. The indivisible Brahman is like a vast shoreless ocean, without bounds and limits, in which I can only struggle and sink. But when I approach the always sportive (active) personal Deity (Hari), I get peace, like the sinking man who nears the shore.
32. God is formless, and is with form too, and He is that which transcends both form and formlessness. He alone can say what else He is.
33. At a certain stage of his path of devotion, the devotee finds satisfaction in God with form; at another stage, in God without form.
34. The God with form is visible, nay, we can touch Him face to face, as with one's dearest friend.
35. As at one time I am clothed, and at another time naked, so Brahman is at one time with attributes and at another without.
38. As water when congealed becomes ice, so the visible form of the Almighty is the materialised manifestation of the all-pervading formless Brahman. It may be called, in fact, Sat-kit-ânanda solidified. As the ice, being part and parcel of the water, remains in the water for a time and afterwards melts in it, so the Personal God is part and parcel of the Impersonal. He rises from the Impersonal, remains there, and ultimately merges into it and disappears.
37. His name is Intelligence; His abode is Intelligence too, and He, the Lord, is Intelligence Himself.
38. Two are the occasions when the Lord smiles. First, when brothers remove the chains which partition off the family property, saying, This is mine and that is thine;' and secondly, when the patient is on the point of death, and the physician says, 'I will cure him.'
39. Lunatics, drunkards, and children sometimes give out the truth unconsciously, as if inspired by Heaven.
40. The sun is many times larger than the earth, but owing to the great distance it appears like a small disk. So the Lord is infinitely great, but owing to our being too far from Him we fall very, very short of comprehending His real greatness.
41. Knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or unconsciously, in whatever state we utter His name, we acquire the merit of such utterance. A man who voluntarily goes into a river and bathes therein gets the benefit of the bath;
so does likewise he who has been pushed into the river by another, or who while sleeping soundly has water thrown upon him by another.
42. Satan never enters the house wherein are always sung the praises of Hari.
43. A king having committed the mortal crime of killing a Brâhmana, went to the hermitage of a sage to learn what penance he must perform in order to be purified. The sage was absent from home, but his son was there. The son hearing the case of the king, said, 'Repeat the name of God (Râma) three times and your sin will be expiated.' When the sage came back and heard the penance prescribed by his son, he said to him in great wrath, 'Sins committed in myriads of births are purged at once by but once uttering the name of the Almighty; how weak must be thy faith, O son, that thou hast ordered that name to be repeated thrice! For this offence of thine go and become a Kândâla.' And the son became the Guhaka Kândâla of the Râmâyana.
44. Consciously or unconsciously, in whatever way one falls into the trough of nectar, one becomes immortal. Similarly, whosoever utters the name of the Deity voluntarily or involuntarily finds immortality in the end.
45. As a large and powerful steamer moves swiftly over the waters, towing rafts and barges in its wake, so when a Saviour descends, He easily carries thousands across the ocean of Mâyâ (illusion).
46. When the flood comes, it overflows rivers and streams, and makes one watery surface of all adjacent lands. But the rain-water flows away through fixed channels. When the Saviour becomes incarnate, all are saved through His grace. The Siddhas (perfect ones) only save themselves with much pain and penance.
47. When a mighty raft of wood floats down a stream, it can carry a hundred men, and still it does not sink. A reed floating down may sink with the weight of even a crow. So when a Saviour becomes incarnate, innumerable are the men who find salvation by taking refuge under Him. The Siddha only saves himself with much toil and trouble.
48. The locomotive engine reaches the destination itself, and also draws and takes with it a long train of loaded wagons. So likewise act the Saviours. They carry multitudes of men, heavily laden with the cares and sorrows of the world, to the feet of the Almighty.
48. When Bhagavân Srî Râmakandra came to this world, seven sages only could recognise Him to be the God incarnate. So when God descends into this world, few only can recognise His Divine nature.
50. On the tree of Sat-kit-ânanda there are innumerable Râmas, Krishnas, Christs, &c.; one or two of them come down into this world now and then, and produce mighty changes and revolutions.
51. The Avatâra or Saviour is the messenger of God. He is like the Viceroy of a mighty monarch. As when
there is some disturbance in a far-off province the king sends his viceroy to quell it; so whenever there is any waning of religion in any part of the world, God sends His Avatâra there.
52. It is one and the same Avatâra that, having plunged into the ocean of life, rises up in one place and is known as Krishna, and diving again rises in another place and is known as Christ.
53. In some seasons water can be obtained from the great depths of the wells only and with great difficulty, but when the country is flooded in the rainy season, water is obtained with ease everywhere. So ordinarily, God is reached with great pains through prayers and penances, but when the flood of Incarnation descends, God is seen anywhere and everywhere.
54. A Siddha-purusha (perfect one) is like an archaeologist who removes the dust and lays open an old well which was covered up during ages of disuse by rank growth. The Avatâra, on the other hand, is like a great engineer who sinks a new well in a place where there was no water before. Great men can give salvation to those only who have the waters of piety and goodness hidden in themselves, but the Saviour saves him too whose heart is devoid of all love, and dry as a desert.
55. Think not that Râma, Sitâ, Srî Krishna, Râdhâ, Arguna, &c., were not historical personages, but mere allegories, or that the Scriptures have an inner and esoteric meaning only. Nay, they were human beings of flesh and
blood just as you are, but because they were Divinities, their lives can be interpreted both historically and spiritually.
56. None knoweth the immensity of the sacrifice which the Godhead maketh when it becomes incarnate or becomes flesh.
57. The Saviours are to Brahman as the waves are to the ocean.
58. What is the state which a Siddha attains? (A perfect man and well-cooked food are both called siddha. There is a pun here on the word.) As potato or brinjal, &c., when boiled properly (siddha), becomes soft and tender, so when a man reaches perfection (Siddha) he becomes all humility and tenderness.
59. Five are the kinds of Siddhas found in this world:--
(1) The Svapna Siddhas are those who attain perfection by means of dream inspiration.
(2) The Mantra Siddhas are those who attain perfection by means of any sacred mantra.
(3) The Hathat Siddhas are those who attain perfection suddenly. As a poor man may suddenly become rich by finding a hidden treasure, or by marrying into a rich family, so many sinners become pure all of a sudden, and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
(4) The Kripâ Siddhas are those who attain perfection through the tangible grace of the Almighty, as a poor man is made wealthy by the kindness of a king.
(s) The Nitya Siddhas are those who are ever-perfect. As a gourd or a pumpkin-creeper brings forth fruit first and
then its flower, so the ever-perfect is born a Siddha, and all his seeming exertions after perfection are merely for the sake of setting examples to humanity.
60. There is a fabled species of birds called 'Homâ,' which live so high up in the heavens, and so dearly love those regions, that they never condescend to come down to the earth. Even their eggs, which, when laid in the sky, begin to fall down to the earth attracted by gravity, are said to get hatched in the middle of their downward course and give birth to the young ones. The fledgelings at once find out that they are falling down, and immediately change their course and begin to fly up towards their home, drawn thither by instinct. Men such as Suka Deva, Nârada, Jesus, Samkarâkârya and others, are like those birds, who even in their boyhood give up all attachments to the things of this world and betake themselves to the highest regions of true Knowledge and Divine Light. These men are called Nitya Siddhas.
61. The Divine sages form, as it were, the inner circle of God's nearest relatives. They are like friends, companions, kinsmen of God. Ordinary beings form the outer circle or are the creatures of God.
62. When the shell of an ordinary cocoa-nut is pierced through, the nail enters the kernel of the nut too. But in the case of the dry nut, the kernel becomes separate from the shell, and so when the shell is pierced the kernel is not touched. Jesus was like the dry nut, i.e. His inner soul
was separate from His physical shell, and consequently the sufferings of the body did not affect Him.
63. Once a holy man, while passing through a crowded street, accidentally trod upon the toe of a wicked person. The wicked man, furious with rage, beat the Sâdhu mercilessly, till he fell to the ground in a faint. His disciples took great pains and adopted various measures to bring him back to consciousness, and when they saw that he had recovered a little, one of them asked, 'Sir, do you recognise who is attending upon you?' The Sâdhu replied, 'He who beat me.' A true Sâdhu finds no distinction between a friend and a foe.
64. The swan can separate the milk from water; it drinks only the milk, leaving the water untouched. Other birds cannot do so. Similarly God is intimately mixed up with Mâyâ; ordinary men cannot see Him separately from Mâyâ. Only the Paramahamsa (the great soul--here is a pun on the word 'hamsa,' which means both soul and swan) throws off Mâyâ, and takes up God only.
65. The wind carries the smell of the sandal-wood as well as that of ordure, but does not mix with either. Similarly a perfect man lives in the world, but does not mix with it.
66. A perfect man is like a lotus-leaf in the water or like a mud-fish in the marsh. Neither of these is polluted by the element in which it lives.
67. As water passes under a bridge but never stagnates,
so money passes through the hands of 'The Free' who never hoard it.
68. As a rope that is burnt retains its shape intact, but has become all ashes, so that nothing can be bound with it; similarly,(the man who is emancipated retains the form of his egoism, but not an idea of vanity (Ahamkâra).
69. As an aquatic bird, such as a pelican, dives into water, but the water does not wet its plumage, so the perfect man lives in the world, but the world does not touch him.
70. When the head of a goat is severed from its body, the trunk moves about for some time, still showing the signs of life. Similarly, though the Ahamkâra (vanity or egoism) is beheaded in the perfect man, yet sufficient of its vitality is left to make such a man carry on the functions of physical life; but that much is not sufficient to bind him again to the world.
71. Ornaments cannot be made of pure gold. Some alloy must be mixed with it. A man totally devoid of Mâyâ. will not survive more than twenty-one days. So long as the man has body, he must have some Mâyâ, however small it may be, to carry on the functions of the body.
72. In the play of hide-and-seek, if the player once succeeds in touching the non-player, called the grand-dame (Boorî), he is no longer liable to be made a thief. Similarly, by once seeing the Almighty, a man is no longer bound down by the fetters of the world. The boy, by touching
the Boorî, is free to go wherever he wishes, without being pursued, and no one can make him a thief. Similarly, in this world's playground, there is no fear to him who has once touched the feet of the Almighty.
73. The iron, once converted into gold by the touch of the Philosopher's stone, may be kept under the ground, or thrown into a rubbish-heap, but it remains always gold, and will never return to its former condition. Similar is the case with him who has once touched the feet of the Almighty. Whether he dwells in the bustle of the world, or in the solitude of forests, nothing will ever contaminate him.
74. The steel sword turns into a golden sword by the touch of the Philosopher's stone, and though it retains its former form it becomes incapable of injuring any one. Similarly, the outward form of a man who has touched the feet of the Almighty is not changed, but he no longer doeth any evil.
75. The loadstone rock under the sea attracts the ship sailing over it, draws out all its iron nails, separates its planks, and sinks the vessel into the deep. Thus, when the human soul is attracted by the magnetism of Universal Consciousness, the latter destroys in a moment all its individuality and selfishness, and plunges it in the ocean of God's infinite Love.
76. Milk and water, when brought into contact, are sure to mix so that the milk can never be separated again. So if the neophyte, thirsting after self-improvement, mixes
indiscriminately with all sorts of worldly men, he not only loses his ideals, but his former faith, love, and enthusiasm also die away imperceptibly. When, however, you convert the milk into butter, it no longer mixes with water, but floats over it. Similarly, when the soul once attains God-head, it may live in any company, without ever being affected by its evil influences.
77. So long as no child is born to her, the newly-married girl remains deeply absorbed in her domestic duties. But no sooner is a son born, than she leaves off all her house-hold concerns, and no longer finds any pleasure in them. On the contrary, she fondles the newborn baby the livelong day, and kisses it with intense joy. Thus man, in his state of ignorance, performs all sorts of worldly works, but no sooner does he see the Almighty, than he finds no longer any relish in them. On the contrary, his happiness now consists only in serving the Deity and doing His works alone.
78. So long as a man is far from the market, he hears a loud and indistinct buzzing only, something like 'Ho! Ho!' But when he enters the market he no longer hears the uproar, but perceives distinctly that some one is bargaining for potatoes, another for Brinjal, and so on. As long as a man is far away from God, he is in the midst of the noise and confusion of reason, argument, and discussion; but when once a person approaches the Almighty, all reasonings, arguments, and discussions cease, and he understands the mysteries of God with vivid and clear perception.
79. So long as a man calls aloud, 'Allah Ho! Allah Ho! (O God! O God!), be sure that he has not found God, for he who has found him becomes still.
80. So long as the bee is outside the petals of the lotus, and has not tasted its honey, it hovers round the flower, emitting its buzzing sound; but when it is inside the flower, it drinks its nectar noiselessly. So long as a man quarrels and disputes about doctrines and dogmas, he has not tasted the nectar of true faith; when he has tasted it he becomes still.
81. Little children play with dolls in a room apart just as they like, but as soon as their mother comes in they throw aside the dolls and run to her crying, 'Mamma, Mamma!' You also are now playing in this world deeply absorbed with the dolls of wealth, honour, and fame, and have no fear or anxiety. But if you once see the Divine Mother entering in, you will not find pleasure any more in wealth, honour, and fame. Leaving off all these you will run to Her.
82. The naked Sage, Totâpuri, used to say, 'If a brass pot be not rubbed daily, it will get rusty. So if a man does not contemplate the Deity daily, his heart will grow impure.' To him Srî Râmakrishna replied, 'Yes, but if the vessel be of gold, it does not require daily cleaning. The man who has reached God requires prayers or penances no more.'
83. He who has once tasted the refined and crystalline sugar-candy, finds no pleasure in raw treacle; he who has slept in a palace, will not find pleasure in lying down in
a dirty hovel. So the soul that has once tasted the sweetness of the Divine Bliss finds no delight in the ignoble pleasures of the world.
84. She who has a king for her lover will not accept the homage of a street beggar. So the soul that has once found favour in the sight of the Lord does not want the paltry things of this world.
85. When a man is in the plains he sees the lowly grass and the mighty pine-tree and says, 'How big is the tree and how small is the grass!' But when he ascends the mountain and looks from its high peak to the plain below, the mighty pine-tree and the lowly grass blend into one indistinct mass of green verdure. So in the sight of worldly men there are differences of rank and position, but when the Divine sight is opened there remains no distinction of high and low.
86. When water is poured into an empty vessel a bubbling noise ensues, but when the vessel is full no such noise is heard. Similarly, the man who has not found God is full of vain disputations. But when he has seen Him, all vanities disappear, and he silently enjoys the Bliss Divine.
87. A woman naturally feels shy to relate to all the talk she daily has with her husband, save to her own companions. Similarly, a devotee does not like to relate to any one but a true Bhakta (devotee) the ecstatic joys which he experiences in his Divine communion; nay, sometimes he becomes impatient of relating his experiences even to those of his own class.
88. The moth once seeing the light never returns to darkness; the ant dies in the sugar-heap, but never retreats therefrom. Similarly, a good devotee gladly sacrifices his life for his God by renunciation.
89. Why does the God-lover find such pleasure in addressing the Deity as Mother? Because the child is more free with its mother, and consequently she is dearer to the child than any one else.
90. The pious man, like a hemp-smoker, finds no pleasure in singing the praises of the Almighty alone. (The hemp-smoker never finds pleasure in smoking alone.)
91. If a strange animal enters a herd of cows, it is driven off by the combined attacks of the whole herd. But let only a cow enter, and all the other cows will make friends with her by mutual licking of bodies. Thus, when a devotee meets with another devotee, both experience great happiness and feel loth to separate, but when a scoffer enters the circle they carefully avoid him.
92. What is the strength of a devotee? He is a child of God, and tears are his greatest strength.
93. The young of a monkey clasps and clings to its mother. The young kitten cannot clasp its mother, but mews piteously whenever it is near her. If the young monkey lets go its hold on its mother, it falls down and gets hurt. This is because it depends upon its own strength; but the kitten runs no such risk, as the mother herself carries it about from place to place. Such is the difference between self-reliance and entire resignation to the will of God.
94. It is fabled that the pearl oyster leaves its bed at the bottom of the sea and comes up to the surface to catch the rain-water when the star Svâti is in the ascendant. It floats about on the surface of the sea with its mouth agape, until it succeeds in catching a drop of the marvellous Svâti-rain. Then it dives down to its sea-bed and there rests, till it has succeeded in fashioning a beautiful pearl out of that rain-drop. Similarly, there are some true and eager aspirants who travel from place to place in search of that watchword from a godly and perfect preceptor (Sad-guru) which will open for them the gate of eternal bliss, and if in their diligent search one is fortunate enough to meet such a Guru and get from him the much-longed-for logos, which is sure to break down all fetters, he at once retires from society, enters into the deep recess of his own heart and rests there, till he has succeeded in gaining eternal peace.
95. The flint may remain for myriads of years under water, still it does not lose its inner fire. Strike it with iron whenever you like and out flows the glowing spark. So is the true devotee firm in his faith. Though he may remain surrounded by all the impurities of the world, he never loses his faith and love. He becomes entranced as soon as he hears the name of the Almighty.
96. The Stone may remain for myriads of years in water, and the water will never penetrate it. But clay is soon softened into mud by the contact of water. So the strong heart of the faithful does not despair in the midst of trials
and persecutions, but the man of weak faith is easily shaken even by the most trifling cause.
97. How sweet is the simplicity of the child! He prefers a doll to all riches and wealth. So is the faithful devotee. No one else can throw aside wealth and honour to take God only.
98. God is like unto a hill of sugar. A small ant carries away from it a small grain of sugar, the bigger ant takes from it a larger grain. But the hill remains as large as before. So are the devotees of God. They become ecstatic with even a grain of one Divine attribute. No one can contain within him all His attributes.
99. A logician once asked Srî Râmakrishna, 'What are knowledge, knower, and the object known?' To which he replied, 'Good man, I do not know all these niceties of scholastic learning. I know only my Mother Divine, and that I am Her son.'
98:1 Some more of Râmakrishna's sayings have been sent to me lately, but their publication will have to wait for another opportunity